Understanding risks involved with running a business will help prevent accidents
Operating a business, whether large or small, comes with various types of risks. These possible hazards can potentially damage a business, while some may induce severe destruction that may be time-consuming and expensive to fix.
Regardless of the inevitable threats involved in managing an organization, business owners and safety officers can prevent and prepare for these incidents no matter the scope of the company. In this article, you’ll learn the essential steps that businesses can take when conducting risk assessments.
What Is Risk Assessment?
One of the essential components of the occupational health and safety (OSH) management plan of businesses is risk assessment. When companies conduct a thorough assessment, they detect risks and hazards, pinpoint staff who may be at risk, and realize areas where control measures may be required to deter accidents and illness.
Though various sectors must fulfill legal requirements, risk assessment’s ultimate objective is to establish a proper and safe environment for workers. Understand that enhancing safety in the workplace minimizes possible obligation concerns businesses may face in the future.
This process consists of a complete inspection of the systems, equipment, and work area to identify possible threats and adopt safety procedures to avoid accidents. Since businesses each have unique surroundings, safety monitors must tailor risk assessment depending on their on-site condition.
For companies to properly conduct risk management, they must proceed with the following steps:
Distinguish The Hazards
The initial phase in risk assessment is distinguishing potential hazards that workers and the company may encounter. These covers:
- Dangerous chemicals (sanitizing fluids, asbestos, etc.)
- Work area incidents (structural collapse, equipment breakdown, vehicle accidents, and fall injuries)
- Natural calamities (earthquakes, tornadoes, storms, fire, etc.)
- Biological threats (foodborne infections, pandemic diseases, etc.)
- Technological issues (electricity shutdown, internet disconnection, etc.)
- Planned activities (bomb threats, labor demonstrations, arson, robbery, etc.)
Carefully inspect the work surrounding and take note which tasks and processes could possibly endanger your business. Also, review previous incident reports to learn what hazards have affected the organization in the past.
Incidentally, if your company deals with toxic materials such as asbestos, click this link now to discover the compliance requirements your business must obtain.
Identify Who Are At Risk
As you survey and assess your business’ surroundings, consider how the job or specific tasks can endanger workers. Keep in mind that for each threat you distinguish in the initial phase, determine the personnel possibly affected when the incident occurs.
Assess The Situation And Exert Preventive Measures
Once you collect a list of the possible hazards in your business, evaluate how likely will the threat happen and how extreme the implications are if the incident occurs. By doing so, the assessment will help you identify the areas where you can lower down risk levels and which parts you must focus on first.
Document Your Results
In case your business has more than five workers, know that the law requires you to document your risk assessment process. The written plan must show the threats you identified, the workers impacted, and the strategy you set in place to lessen them.
Also, remember the risk assessment plan should indicate that the organization conducted the following:
- Adequate check of the work environment
- Managed potential hazards
- Implemented preventive measures to mitigate risks
- Updated workers about the procedures
Another critical step that businesses must take as part of risk assessment is to assign safety monitors to oversee and manage risks in the company. The monitors can consist of the business owner, senior executives, or employees.
The organization must also determine how to manage, report, and handle hazards that are identified. Additionally, the safety monitors should develop plans on how to manage emergency scenarios like explosions, fire, and toxic chemical incidents.
When the company adopts methods for risk management, it can readily deal with problems that come up.
Establish Process Controls
Once you find the possible threats in your work surroundings, the next optimal step is to establish process controls to minimize them. You can review previous incident reports to determine any pattern or cycle over time.
Evaluate Assessment & Revise if Needed
Finally, keep in mind that organizations are constantly evolving. Hence, the potential risks in the workplace shift as well. When the company introduces new workers, processes, and equipment, they likewise bring in different hazards.
When Must Businesses Perform Risk Assessment?
After learning the steps needed when conducting a thorough risk assessment, you may be wondering, when should companies perform this procedure? Please note that it’s best to undertake a risk assessment when there are transitions in the company or cases of the following:
- State or legal standards stipulate the process
- There are modifications in the current processes or tasks
- Deployment of new assignments and processes
- Detection of hazards in the work area
Moreover, businesses should also schedule a mandatory strict review of all possible risks in the workspace. If the organization encounters any issues, they must report and address them immediately.
Can Businesses Avoid Risk?
In either case, is it possible for businesses to avoid risk? Companies may prevent the various dangers they identified in their risk assessment by performing background verifications, safety checks, employee drills, periodic equipment upkeep, and regular workspace maintenance.
For this reason, workers must be aware of the emergency exits or the steps to take in cases of emergencies in the office. Businesses should likewise devise a program to conduct routine inspection of their equipment and the work environment.
This strategy should also include education and retraining of employees when needed. In addition to this, business owners must consider scheduling a periodic review of their insurance coverage to determine if the provisions require any updates or revisions.
Given these points, conducting a thorough risk assessment for your business creates a secure and stable workplace for your staff. When starting the process, the initial step involves recognizing possible risks and hazards, and then designing and implementing procedures and controls to mitigate the identified risks.
For the most part, ensuring a safe working condition begins with determining all the possible risks and dangers that could happen. One can successfully achieve this with a team effort that calls for the participation of executives, front-line managers, staff, risk assessment officers, etc.
Setting aside funds and devoting time to these safety efforts is an excellent investment for your company. As a result, your business gains by controlling the liability while workers enjoy a secure work atmosphere.